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How Many Practice Electric Bass Unplugged?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by KerrywAZ1, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. Demented


    Mar 10, 2020
    That should have been ''Without the Neighbours Complaining ! ah ah Nobody complained about the 200 watt peavey either ''
  2. dasherf17


    Feb 6, 2021
    Okee-dokee...as you wish...
  3. dasherf17


    Feb 6, 2021
    Nah, at noon-2p the neighbors are still sleeping...they like the 200w effect for an alarm clock...

  4. I do. Practicing finger exercises does not require amplification.

    mexicant, zontar and dasherf17 like this.
  5. greatbassguitar


    Mar 10, 2011
    There are advantages to both.

    30 years ago I practiced unplugged most of the time but practiced with bands (plugged in!) and played live every day. This was for convenience but it had the advantage of developing a lot of strength and clean clear notes on fretted and fretless bass. Amplification can let you get away with some sloppy fretting. The disadvantage of this approach and/or my youth was that I did not really finesse my amplified tone: if it was loud I was good. Now that I practice plugged in more often (quietly at home alone and some recording) I am working on getting a variety of more subtle tones out of the pickups and hand placements, muting, etc.

    If I had to do it over again I would practice plugged in more often and pay attention to tones and pickups more but there are benefits to practicing unplugged as well.
  6. dasherf17


    Feb 6, 2021
    And for me, I'm laying off the "rear pickup only" approach...I found mixed pickups are so much better these days...
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    It's fine to do it unplugged, but just remember that amplifying enables you to hear subtle little things that you're screwing up on so don't just play unplugged.
  8. dasherf17


    Feb 6, 2021
    Another side of that is you can add little subtleties you wouldn't normally hear acoustically.
    JimmyM likes this.
  9. Whether practicing unplugged, esp. on a solid body bass, is good or bad, useful or not, et al. seems to me to say more about the person than it does about the method. Those who practice songs or sets only probably would get little benefit from practicing unplugged. Those who do a significant amount of focused practice surely would get more. By “focused practice” I mean, e.g. working 10-15 minutes on alternate finger plucking (RH) or on position shifting (LH) or on speed picking drills (RH) or on spider etudes i.e. across the neck (LH) or scales. If you’re especially aware of your hands and fingers as you practice you can gain quite a lot from unplugged practice. If you need to hear yourself then unplugged practice is off the table. Practice by whatever method helps you most but be open to new ideas.
    swink and KaraQ like this.
  10. Miles_ONeal

    Miles_ONeal Wrangler of Raucous Thunder Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2017
    Round Rock, TX
    I used to; I notice things this way I wouldn't otherwise. I've realized lately I haven't been doing this and need to again.
  11. TJL


    Oct 22, 2013
    Sorry to offend. In the end, any practicing is a good thing, but I still stand by my assertion that bad habits can arise when practicing unplugged. I have been there, and am only trying to pass along valuable info so others can avoid the learning curve.
  12. Just as bad habits can be embeded when practicing plugged in, good habits can also develop through unplugged practice. It’s the player’s attention to detail, not plugged vs. unplugged, that determines whether it’s good or bad.
    Bruno1950, KaraQ and swink like this.
  13. swink


    Jan 10, 2019
    You speak of possibilities... the building blocks of the universe. Any way of practicing can lead to good and bad habits. The problem lies more with the attitude of the one who practices and not with the physical conditions.
    To this I would like to add that the whole spectrum of nuances must be practiced: from pulling the strings like a chimpanzee to tickling them with a feather.
    Personally, I am also in favor of a beginning bassist practicing best with an amplifier. When started I also was learning bad habits because I didn't know the amplified behavior of my instrument. Now that I am way past that stage, I practice more without amplification than amplified.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  14. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I've done it, but don't recommend it when an amp is available. To hear the bass better, i will actually press my chin against the body of the bass so the vibrations transmit to my head. But yeah there is really no advantage to practicing without an amp on an electric bass IMO, but there is for an acoustic or upright bass since you need to learn how to get a good acoustic sound out of the instrument.
    dasherf17 likes this.
  15. Jack Deth

    Jack Deth

    May 7, 2020
  16. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    I usually practice sans amp , it keeps my sounds to myself and not the rest o the household
    dasherf17 likes this.
  17. I do but only to practice like muscle memory stuff like scale exercises or arpeggios. If it's more of a dexterity thing I think that's okay to practice unplugged but you have to be okay with no hearing it super well
  18. Redd Hatt

    Redd Hatt

    Mar 18, 2021
    Not for about six years since I found the Vox Amplug....
  19. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    I literally just finished an “unplugged” session on the NS/Stick.

    Most of the family is still asleep, but I wanted to work on playing my current piece with as little looking at the fretboard as possible. I could reach for the headphones, but it was simpler to sit down and tap away. It helps that it’s quiet: Once everyone’s up I need the instrument amplified to really here what I’m doing with my tone.
    Miles_ONeal likes this.
  20. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    There's an NS Stick? As in Ned Steinberger version of the Chapman Stick?
    Reg Braithwaite likes this.
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